It came as no surprise that talking on a mobile phone whilst driving was eventually made illegal. According to the Office of National Statistics, reaction times for drivers using mobile phones in their hands are around 30% slower than comparative reaction times for drivers not using a phone. Mobile phones are distracting and research shows drivers are around four times more likely to crash whilst talking on a mobile.
In the early days of the mobile phone, driving and talking was considered to be a big contributor in the rise in road traffic accidents in the UK. Although people were advised against it, there was no law against it and seeing people cruising along the motorway at 70mph with a mobile phone pressed to their ear became a common sight. Since the introduction of the legislation, there has been a decline in mobile phone usage in cars, although with the advent of the smart phone, police have noted a worrying trend for people to be texting, emailing or browsing the internet whilst at the wheel.
If you do have a crash whilst using a mobile phone, whether it was your fault or not, you will be deemed to be at fault. This means your insurance claim and any ensuing personal injury claim are unlikely to be successful, leaving you out of pocket and without a vehicle. Added to this, you can face a maximum of a £1,000 fine as well as the possibility of being disqualified from driving for a period of time.
Even if you aren’t involved in an accident, if you are caught using a hand held mobile phone at the wheel, you can expect to get an instant fine of £60 and three penalty points on your licence. If you are a new driver and receive 6 penalty points within two years of taking your test, you will have to re-sit the test before you can drive your car again.
It is not illegal to use sat navs and hands free phones whilst driving, but it is important to be aware that these devices can still be distracting. If the police think you are not paying attention or driving carefully enough, you can face the same penalties. The only time a driver should ever use a mobile phone in the car is to call 999 in a genuine emergency or when they are safely parked up.
With the advent of the smart phone, there is now even more of a challenge facing police. Many drivers have their phones within easy reach in the car as they may use the GPS functions to navigate from place to place. With the ‘always on’ mentality of mobile phones, it can be all too tempting to check that incoming email to see if it was important, or try to reply to a text message whilst the phone is propped in its cradle. The fact of the matter is, no email is worth risking your life for, so don’t be tempted to even look whilst you are driving.
This guest post was contributed by Leyla, an aspiring blogger who enjoys writing on a number of legal issues, particularly in the realm of personal injury claims. She is currently writing on behalf of EAD Solicitors, an established British law firm who specialise in personal injuries.